The Cultural Barriers That Stop Sufferers from Seeking Help!

(Aruma Khan, )

As many health beliefs and behaviors are culturally-based and their treatment is contingent upon how much the society is educated about mental illness and its deteriorating impact onto the sufferers. The major barrier that has stopped sufferers from seeking help is the lack of mental health education in our society. At first, our culture doesn’t give much space and comfort to discuss mental illness. We are more vocal to talk about our physical illness, but the canvas of our culture doesn’t allow people to talk about their mental turmoil. This leads to no acceptance of sufferer’s plight and the one who came out to speak up would later be denigrated of this decision. Consequently, this inhibits other sufferers to speak out. This cultural barrier of unacceptance towards mental illness has outgrown multifarious other barriers for the sufferers.

In Pakistani context, the biggest barrier that all sufferers confront almost every day, every time they decide to see the therapist is “What people will say”? Who are these people? If you begin to look for them, you can’t find anyone apparently because this has been intricately sewn in our socio-cultural background to consider mental illness as taboo, as a curse. We all are those people in one circumstance or the other. Yesterday, I was reading the article of a very renowned Pakistani psychotherapist whose son has committed suicide few days back because he was suffering from severe clinical depression and no one in the family got even a bit of an idea of the plight that he had been through all his time with depression. The therapist consider herself responsible for her son’s suicide. And then she came across a recorded video message by her son before he committed suicide. He was a young, witty and achieving guy then why he committed suicide. The recorded message outlined a cardinal reason of his suicide and that is I am not good enough to fulfill anyone’s expectations. He has always been a mediocre and now he had achieved his dream job even then it seemed like a fleeting dream because he found that mediocrity is his reality. It is one of the reasons that the author of this story (psychotherapist) confessed that everyone in the family are career oriented and achieved bigger names with shining grades on their back and he always had this yearn to do something greater so that he will be praised the same way like his other siblings. This story delineated one of the overarching barriers that almost every sufferer has been through is idealistic expectations and presenting a happy, contented and successful self-concept which in actual possess dark undertones. The reality is that it is just a veneer that we all tend to excel academically and professionally in order to give this illusionary image of happiness by subsiding all of the hurt, loss, pain, agony and failures of what life throw at us.

When moving onto this trail of unacceptability, unrealistic expectations and idealistic self-concept, there comes a sense of fear at first to realize and then to reach out for help from the right person because of the persisting cultural barrier. We live in a collectivist culture and our lives are pretty much associated with our acquaintances and significant others’. Due to this entire chaos, we feel compelled to be in-charge of our loved ones lives. With this deep and unruly care, we eventually end up strangling the personal space and subjectivity of the other person who might has been through severe mental debate. As it is a hackneyed comment in our society to say effortlessly that there is no such thing as mental illness exists. It is just an illusion of mind. All of these cultural barriers infuse to stop a sufferer to seek help because of the looming consequences of being judged or left out. These cultural constrains have sewn our lips and dried our tears by giving a delusion of dead-ends. Whereas, there is a whole new sharpening world where you can look for answers for your unsaid mental turmoil.

Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on or a patient ear to listen to when in need. But for many folks it is a hard job to find an outlet due to tightened culturally bounded barriers. The support group is almost oblivious from our lives in terms of a real talk on psychological issues. In fact, one of the most common reasons people tell me that they’re starting therapy is because they feel like they’re burdening family members or friends with their psychological dilemmas. If there’s something in your life that you’ve been trying hard to achieve but just can’t quite seem to make happen, it may be that there are subtle psychological or emotional factors causing obstructions and preventing you from succeeding.There are always a lot unanswered cues within us, if we begin to figure it out, there will be an ultimate panacea to it. As a lot of problems and their recovery is internalized and has been triggered by the external environment. If we begin to delve into the internal world, we will find some real answers and their perpetuating explanations which will help future generations to cater this matter seriously and wisely.

Few ways through which you can help yourself and others’ too are primarily based on human-to-human interaction and one real conversation. Consider it as a phase and seek out for support. I believe that there will always be some sort of help around you. It is a bitter fact that we all have encountered pain, insecurities, fears and loss. But paradoxically we all are intimidated to confront real problems behind the veneer. So, let’s break this silence and must try to lead to the most refined groundbreaking solution to this lurking problem is to speak out and let others understand the nuance and dynamic of this real problem by talking and listening more about it.
Seek out. Reach out. As it’s rightly said, who seeks, Shall find (Mathew 7:7, Bible)

Written by Aruma Khan


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19 Aug, 2019 Views: 145


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